Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini (Immersive Theater)
Transporting audiences to 1926, the year Harry Houdini died, Speakeasy Dollhouse unravels the mystery of his untimely death. Written and directed by Cynthia von Buhler and based on her comic book series from Titan Comics/Hard Case Crime, The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini follows private investigator Minky Woodcock on her first case. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believes Houdini is not merely a magician but has supernatural powers; Bess Houdini suspects her husband is cheating on her. Minky goes undercover as Houdinis new assistant, and when the great illusionist dies, Minkys investigation leads her to the darkest of secrets
Audience members will witness Harry Houdinis final days through an immersive theater experience in which they are assigned a character to follow and then view events through that characters point of view. They might find themselves attending a séance, helping the magician rehearse backstage, sipping absinthe in a speakeasy, spying on an affair in a hotel room, witnessing an attempted murder, visiting Houdini in his hospital room, or viewing his body in the morgue. All attendees travel via train to watch Houdinis final month of performances, including his iconic Water Torture Chamber act, in Rhode Island, Montreal and Detroit. VIP guests follow Harry Houdini or Minky Woodcock, receive the best seats in the house for the stage portions of the show, and are invited onstage to inspect the Water Torture Chamber. Audience members are encouraged to come back again to follow other key players and see alternate facets of what actually led to Houdinis fateful death. Evidence is revealed, but the truth is left up to the theatergoer to decide.
Replete with incredible magic tricks and authentic recreations of spiritualist demonstrations, the production offers up a meticulously detailed slice of Houdini history.
Artist and author Cynthia von Buhler created Speakeasy Dollhouse in 2011 to explore the murder of her own Italian immigrant grandfather, a speakeasy owner named Frank Spano, who was shot and killed on a New York City street in 1935. Long haunted by the mystery of his death, von Buhler obtained news articles, autopsy reports, police records, and court documents, and recreated the crime scene in an elaborate dollhouse diorama. In Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, von Buhler brought her miniature set to life at mobster Meyer Lanskys former speakeasy, The Back Room. The Bloody Beginning, which ran for five years, soon became a hot underground theater ticket, selling out regularly and attracting a roster of guest actors from Broadway and hit television shows such as FXs The Americans and HBOs Boardwalk Empire. In 2012, von Buhlers investigation was featured in The New York Times (Using a Dollhouse to Recontruct a Murder, 77 Years Later). Von Buhler followed The Bloody Beginning with two other immersive plays, The Brothers Booth (2014), an investigation of the Lincoln assassination staged at his assassins brothers mansion on Grammercy Park, and Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (2015), an exploration of the death of Ziegfeld Girl and silent film star Olive Thomas staged at a long-hidden Broadway theater uncovered in Times Square.
"The twenties were a time when freedom roared. Women finally won the right to vote. They took jobs during the war and decided to keep them after the troops came home. Ladies drank booze, bobbed their hair and threw away their corsets. Gender roles were becoming more fluid. Liquor was illegal, but folks drank more than ever. Speakeasy Dollhouse revels in this era. Join Minky Woodcock and be transported into a time capsule where you can live fully in her world." - Cynthia von Buhler
Starring: Pearls Daily (Minky Woodcock), Vincent Cinque (Harry Houdini), Robyn Adele Anderson (Bess Houdini), Lord Kat (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Luka Fric (Bennie Woodcock), E. James Ford (J. Gordon Whitehead), Delysia La Chatte (Nurse La Chatte), Eden Atencio (Mina Crandon aka Margery of Boston), Ryan Salvato (Sam Smiley), Celeste Hudson (Lady Marler), Mat Leonard (Jim Collins), Audrey Allen (Lady Allan) and Will Davis (Jack Price). Cynthia von Buhler is the writer, director and set designer. PJ Mead is the associate director and company manager. Produced by Speakeasy Dollhouse.
When: Wednesday - Saturday, September 27 - November 10, 2018
Opening night: October 5, 2018
Previews: September 27 - October 4, 2018
Time: 8PM - 10:30PM
Where: Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, NY 10003
Phone: Text (646) 221-5239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $100 (regular admission), $200 (Friday and Sat VIP)
All full price tickets include a copy of the hardcover artist edition book signed by the director/author/illustrator Cynthia von Buhler.
A Secret Theater (View)
80 Saint Marks Place (just west of 1st Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
|Minimum Age: 21|
|Kid Friendly: No|